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    Working together will get us through the drought. Visit watersavings.org to learn more.


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    Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, are found naturally in lakes, rivers, ponds, and other waterways. Under certain conditions, such as in warm water containing an abundance of nutrients, they can rapidly form harmful algal blooms. Amid a historic drought in which Santa Clara County reservoirs are at record low levels, Valley Water recommends people take caution in and around waterways.

    For more information, please visit our FAQ page.


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    As Santa Clara County contends with a drought emergency that is threatening our region’s water supplies, Valley Water is taking actions to lead our region out of drought.

    Valley Water recently conducted a Drought Summit to discuss ways to address the drought with partners across Silicon Valley.

    The diverse, region-wide attendance mirrored the importance of the subject matter. The virtual event on Oct. 23, 2021 included elected officials, business leaders, water retailers, and environmental advocates from throughout Silicon Valley and beyond to discuss ways to address the drought together.

    Elected officials and staff from Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, San Jose, Saratoga, and Sunnyvale were among those who participated. Representatives from the offices of Congressmember Anna Eshoo and California State Senator John Laird also attended the Drought Summit.

    Valley Water Board Chair Tony Estremera opened the Summit by emphasizing Valley Water’s commitment to work with external partners in taking actions needed to help communities reduce water use and combat the drought emergency.

    Those who attended the summit were provided the latest polling data on drought attitudes from Nichols Research. Valley Water led a presentation titled “Multi-Year Droughts: Possible Solutions for a New Normal” which focused on the current status of the drought. The event concluded with interactive breakout sessions where participants discussed how best to respond to the drought emergency and what commitments they or their organizations would make in the next 60 days.

    The Summit convened roughly four months after Valley Water’s Board of Directors called for a mandatory 15% reduction in water use in Santa Clara County. Valley Water held a similar Summit during the previous drought of 2015 which spurred communities to collectively reduce water use when it was desperately needed.


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    Is a creek near you running dry? Santa Clara County is in extreme drought per the U.S. Drought Monitor. Rainfall has been well below normal for the past two years and the statewide snowpack is at a minimum. Water storage in local reservoirs is very low compared to historic average due to the low amount of rainfall received and storage in Anderson Reservoir, the largest reservoir in the county, being unavailable due to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) order to drawdown the reservoir. As a result of this limited local water and reduced availability of imported supplies, Valley Water is asking all residents to reduce their water use by 15 percent compared to 2019.

    In order to conserve remaining water supplies for health and safety, Valley Water has suspended most groundwater recharge operations for summer 2021 and possibly longer if the drought continues beyond this year. Valley Water has restricted the delivery of water to the majority of its 102 recharge ponds and also reduced water releases to creeks for in-stream groundwater percolation.

    With the current serious situation, there will be areas of creek that are without water. If you have questions, you can do so by clicking the "Ask a question, Be heard" button. Just register and enter your question and a subject matter expert will respond to you.

    Valley Water’s priorities remain the delivery of safe, clean water from our drinking water treatment plants to local water providers and municipalities and also maintaining healthy groundwater basins for residents and retailers that depend on groundwater pumping to meet their demands. Valley Water will continue to work with local, state, and federal regulatory partners to coordinate on drought impacts on fish and wildlife while conducting water supply operations and maintenance activities in an environmentally sensitive manner.


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    As you likely noticed, the past winter was very dry, leaving most of Santa Clara County in a drought. Conserving water today allows us to be in the best condition possible if we move into an extended period of drought. We can all do our part by reducing the amount of water we use.

    Given that at least half of the water in a typical Santa Clara County home is used outdoors, making sure your yard is drought-ready is a great way to help the environment and save money on your water bill. If you enjoy having a garden, I invite you to consider including beautiful drought-resistant California native plants in your landscape and using water-wise irrigation systems.

    Our Landscape Rebate Program can help you transform your thirsty yard into a beautiful drought-ready landscape and make your irrigation equipment more efficient. So far, nearly 10,000 residents and businesses have already participated in the program.

    We offer $100 for every 100 square feet of lawn you convert, for a maximum of $3,000 for homes and $60,000 for businesses and institutions. Visit www.watersavings.org to get started and apply for your rebate.

    As we ask you to get ready for the potential of an extended drought, we are also getting ready. Valley Water is preparing for climate change and the threat of more frequent and severe droughts by investing in technology and infrastructure now. We are in the process of rebuilding the dam that holds back our largest reservoir, Anderson, to that it can safely withstand an earthquake. We are exploring expanding our water reuse efforts through recycled and purified water technology that can provide millions of gallons of water per day of high-quality, drought-resilient water for drinking and non-drinking purposes.

    Every drop saved today is water that’s available for the future. So, please consider reducing your water usage by replacing a water-thirsty lawn with a beautiful landscape. Your yard will look gorgeous, and you will know that you are saving water and money and helping us all be ready for this and future droughts.


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    Trees are vital parts of our community here in Santa Clara County. They create the air we breathe, help protect water quality, create shady gathering places for humans and wildlife, and can even add value to our homes by keeping them cooler in the summer and by adding year-round curb appeal. All that trees ask for in return is a bit of water.

    During drought periods in California, please remember to water your landscape trees, even though other parts of your yard may go brown or dry during periods of water conservation. Many trees growing in lawns have shallow roots due to typical lawn watering schedules. When irrigation is reduced or stopped altogether, trees can quickly become stressed or die. Most trees benefit from deep, infrequent watering provided by drip irrigation or soaker hoses, or a graywater system. Apply a few inches of mulch to help retain moisture but be sure to keep it at least 6″ away from the trunk of the tree

    Plan to deep water your trees every one to two weeks in the summer months. Watering in the morning or evening is always better to allow the water to percolate into the root zone while temperatures are cooler. Larger trees may require far more water than small younger trees, but all trees prefer a long slow drink of at least 10-20 gallons on average per irrigation cycle. Drought-resistant trees, including many California natives, may need far less water during summer drought periods than other ornamental species. Consult your local arborist or nursery professional if you need advice about the trees in your landscape.

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    Santa Clara County is in extreme drought. We can’t afford to wait to act as our water supplies are being threatened locally and across California. We are in an emergency and Valley Water must do everything we can to protect our groundwater resources and ensure we can provide safe, clean water to Santa Clara County residents and businesses.

    To better deal with these threats and the emergency they are causing, today my fellow Board Members and I unanimously declared a water shortage emergency condition in Santa Clara County. This declaration, which is among the strongest actions we can take under law, allows Valley Water to work with our retailers, cities and the county to implement regulations and restrictions on the delivery and consumption of water. We also are urging the County of Santa Clara to proclaim a local emergency and join us in underscoring the seriousness of the threats posed by the extreme drought.

    Increased conservation is also necessary to protect local water supplies and guard against groundwater overdraft, subsidence, and dry domestic wells, especially if the drought extends into next year. That’s why my fellow Board Members and I also are calling for a mandatory 15% reduction in water use compared to 2019.

    These actions are necessary as we face further challenges to our local water supply. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered Anderson Reservoir to be drained for public safety as we strengthen the dam. This means the largest surface reservoir in Santa Clara County is out of service while performing this critical work.

    Our imported water supplies are decreasing because of the historic dry season. About 50% of our water supply comes from outside our county, and the depleted Sierra Nevada snowpack caused a significant reduction in the amount of imported water we will receive this year.

    Valley Water is addressing this by working to withdraw previously banked supplies and purchasing emergency water from our partners.

    We thank the many people who acted during the last drought and beyond to reduce their water use significantly. Water saved through the years is water we can use now. We urge the community to keep up that great work.

    I ask our residents, businesses, and farmers to do your part to help us weather this extreme drought by taking part in our many rebate and conservation programs. Valley Water offers robust conservation programs that can help you save water and money, including an increase in our Landscape Rebate Program beginning July 1. Learn about all our rebate programs, conservation tips and how to get free water-saving tools at watersavings.org.

    A reliable supply of safe, clean water is crucial for public health and the economy. We can’t predict how long this drought will last. But we know now is the time for action to protect our groundwater basins and make sure there is enough water for all our communities. Thank you for doing your part.